Kings Can Fly

by Firedroid

Archive for May, 2011


Posted by Willem On May - 31 - 2011

The Brig is, arguably, the most iconic ship we designed. So we chose it as our “flagship”.

The original model had around 330 triangles. After the first optimization run it had 285 of them. We were limited to somewhere around 300 triangles for this model so that should have been enough. But to provide the option, it was also trimmed down to 185 triangles, which was fine for the ship’s body but the balloon part was too sharp to be seen as “round”. So as a compromise we took the “high poly” balloons and the “low poly” body.

The final version has 211 triangles.

Design: The Brig

Posted by Rachel On May - 30 - 2011

In our tech demo we wanted to use a bit more advanced means of transportation than just a crate tied to a balloon. We designed this ship, The Brig, to be the impressive and iconic ship for our game.

Instead of one big balloon like a zeppelin, we designed two separate balloons held together by fabric and ropes. This gives the game a more unique look than using a standard zeppelin shape.

Some rough sketches of how the balloons attach to the hull of the ship:

3D tilesets

Posted by Willem On May - 26 - 2011

It was quickly decided that the most efficient and flexible way for making levels was working with tiles.

Now 3D tiles are a bit more work then 2D tiles. The texture artist has to endure the traditional worries of getting the colours to line up. The 3D artist has to get all the vertices to line up. This is a daunting puzzle.

This is our “low-land” tileset. It consists of 4 tiles:

A straight, a 90° corner, a 270° corner and a flat piece. With this, one can make every form of mountain group, given that there is at least a thickness of 2 tiles.

Textured, it looks like this:

The 270° corner especially is a crafty one. It aligns perfectly when flanked with two straight tiles, but clips when flanked with a 90° corner. This is intentionally, and provides just a little bit of randomness.


The “high” tileset has the same structure as the low-land mountains. With 4 different blocks you can create a variety of mountain shapes.


The problem is not only to align all vertices but also to keep the polygon count down. Later on, when we ran into performance issues, we removed a third of the vertices in all tiles. Luckily, this will go unnoticed, since the texture covers the lack of mesh detail.

Villages on the mountains

Posted by Rachel On May - 23 - 2011

The sketches above are the very first ideas we had for cities/villages on mountain tops. However, we decided they were bit too serious and realistic for our setting and that the scale was far too small. Our airships need to feel huge and impressive, and the small houses were dwarfing the effect.

Next we came up with this design:

It still needed to be bigger!

The mood that enormous building set wasn’t deemed appropriate, so we discarded them and redesigned the villages to be more practical.

The houses are built on platforms sticking out of the mountains. This has a lot of advantages in 3D since we can literally stick the platform and buildings into the mountain mesh. We don’t have to model villages that are customized to specific mountains.

Designing Mountains

Posted by Rachel On May - 15 - 2011

Here are some sketches for the mountains in our game. It didn’t take long before we came to the conclusion that making a lot of sketches is rather useless. We just needed to try to make the mountains as cheap as possible (polygon wise) in 3D.

Game concept sketches

Posted by Rachel On May - 4 - 2011

These are some quick visualizations for the setting of the game. Trying out shapes and colours.